Pultruded composites journey from factory to full systems
German company Techno-Composites supplies fully designed systems for its customers’ specific requirements using high-quality fiber composite components. Its solutions are based on glass-reinforced plastic and carbon-reinforced plastic and serve key industries such transportation, energy, construction, and infrastructure. To deliver high-quality cost-effective systems for customers, Techno Composites has partnered with Exel who provides the pultruded composite profiles that are incorporated into Techno Composites final systems.
Techno Composites supplies fully assembled systems that are tailor made to suit each customer’s specific requirements. The whole system can involve different types of materials, including composites, aluminum casted parts, metal brackets, and RTM vacuum-infused parts.
“At Techno Composites, our goal is to make innovative fully-engineered solutions that help solve customers’ challenges using fiber-reinforced plastics,” explained Gerrit Mann, managing director at Techno Composites. “We have a reputation for creativity, quality, and reliability, which is based on over 25 years of meeting our customers’ needs and supplying systems that deliver genuine value.”
“We design the whole system in the development phase without locking ourselves into specific materials or manufacturing processes for each individual component. Our sole priority is designing the right system for the customer’s exact needs taking different raw materials into account,” explained Jan Lügering, Product Engineer at Techno Composites. “Once we have a full system concept, we source the most suitable materials to bring it to life.”
It was clear to Techno Composites that the best way to deliver final systems that were consistent, cost-effective, and delivered on all their customers’ requirements was to use pultruded profiles in its designs, so it engaged pultrusion-specialist Exel to deliver these on an ongoing basis.
Pultrusion is a continuous manufacturing process resulting in a steady output of a composite profile that is cut to length at the end of the process. The process begins by pulling continuous reinforcements through a resin bath to wet out the fibers. The impregnated reinforcement is passed through preforming guides to align the reinforcement before entering the heated die where the composite is created.
The fully cured section is cut to length, or, if size and shape permit, be wound onto a drum as a continuous length. The only limitations on length for cut sections of pultruded profiles are storage and transportation.
“We can take standard profiles, like boxes, tubes, and angles, and combine these to produce tailor-made constructions for clients. For example, walkways and ladders that are made using fiber glass profiles,” continued Lügering.
“Alternatively, we can also use non-standardized customized profiles that are specially created for a system. For example, in bus and train applications, we can use pultruded profiles for many things, including side sealings, roof inner-linings, airducts, and channels.
“Pultrusion is a good way to create profiles for train and bus applications as they are very straight. Most profiles in this business are made specially for the customers. We need less density, light weight, high stiffness, and excellent fire retardants properties,” continued Lügering.
“The pultruded profiles that we supply to Techno Composites for their transportation applications are ideal for customers as they meet all the mechanical properties needs while also being lightweight, meaning that energy efficiency is improved compared to buses and trains manufactured using steel or aluminum panels,” explained Olli Tevä, SVP Sales & Marketing at Exel Composites.
“We have worked with Exel for about 27 years and very often we use their pultruded profiles as they are very customizable, able to be produced in complex geometries, and demonstrate excellent fire retardant properties,” concluded Lügering.